Day of Giving Hearts
February 14, besides Valentine’s Day, is “National Donor Day.” It’s a day to recognize loved ones who have given the Gift of Life, those who have received and those who are waiting for a transplant – and for our family, it is the day my little brother became a hero.
My brother Anthony was eight years younger than me. Although there was an age gap and we had different living situations, we were very close. Anthony was all boy – he loved baseball, was outgoing, intelligent and gave the best hugs! For what would be our last Christmas together, I remember walking in the house and being almost knocked off my feet by Anthony! He was so excited, he just ran to me and enveloped me in the greatest hug.
Tragically, when Anthony was 11 he was in an accident while playing. For ten days, doctors made every effort to save him, but his injuries were too severe. On February 14, 2012, my family made the decision to honor Anthony’s loving nature and allow him to save others through organ donation.
On what many people call Valentine’s Day, our family knows it as National Donor Day. And in my little brother’s memory, we lovingly call it the “Day of Giving Hearts.”
On February 16, 2012, Anthony’s gifts saved five people and later gave two others sight. We are a family of deep faith and knowing that he is living on in others gives us solace. Anthony’s gifts have not only saved those people however, his gifts had lead my family into places that we never imagined we would be.
Since Anthony’s passing, my mom took a job with Life Link of Florida. She works with grieving families to ensure that the donor’s and family wishes are carried out accordingly. She supports families throughout the donation process – just as we were supported.
I graduated in December from The Ohio State University with my degree in Education and Human Ecology – I now work for a large hospital system and am so happy to be making a difference in the field of health care.
Most importantly, my family started the Anthony Fowler Foundation. Our goal to raise money for families who were in similar situations to ours – unexpectedly they are in the hospital for an unknown amount of time caring for their child. We don’t want a family to have to choose between work and taking care of their child.
Anthony is missed every single day. But by the grace of God, he is still living on. I ask that you take two minutes and register as an organ, eye and tissue donor today. Be a hero like Anthony!